Overdrive Extra

Todd Dills

LoneStar gets ‘Wired’

| February 19, 2009

a href=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ez6JTnOl_tQ/SZ13dq5KaNI/AAAAAAAAANc/2yJ_UEB47V4/s1600-h/lonestar_truck.jpg”img id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5304527287726270674″ style=”FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 0px 0px 10px 10px; WIDTH: 200px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 100px” alt=”" src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ez6JTnOl_tQ/SZ13dq5KaNI/AAAAAAAAANc/2yJ_UEB47V4/s200/lonestar_truck.jpg” border=”0″ //aemWired/em magazine’s a href=”http://blog.wired.com/cars/”Autopia blog/a, a forum devoted (as it sounds) mostly to new technology in the realm of cars and other personal transport, a couple weeks back had a href=”http://blog.wired.com/cars/2009/01/how-a-couple-of.html”this story/a about International’s new LoneStar tractor (pictured). Run under the headline “An 18-wheeler That Feels Like Home,” the writers picked up on a growing trend among truck manufacturers toward tooling their rigs to the comfort needs of the most important user of the equipment.br /br /Yes, that’s you. The funny part about all this is that it took two Carnegie Mellon professors to set the emWired/em editors straight on the reality of long-haul trucking. Peter Boatwright and John Cagan, two of the authors (with Craig Vogel) of the book a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Design-Things-Come-Ordinary-Extraordinary/dp/0131860828″The Design of Things to Come/a, were consultants on the LoneStar’s interior, which is built to optimize operator comfort. “Hours spent chatting up drivers at truck stops helped [Cagan and Boatwright] create a ‘lifestyle savvy’ interior that packs the comforts of home into a rig,” the emWired/em editors wrote. “Boatwright and Cagan started by checking out the rigs already on the road and were surprised by what they found.”br /br /And then they dropped the big news: “‘Most of the trucks out there are pretty Spartan, and people live in them for weeks at a time,’ Cagan told us.”br /br /Jokes aside, Cagan and Boatwright took the design opportunity to involve graduate students in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon and ended up tossing out old-style bunks “in favor of a fold-out bed with a 42-inch mattress, [using] the space they saved to install airline-style storage bins,” the story runs. “Other creature comforts include a fold-down desk, a boomin’ stereo with 11 speakers and a subwoofer, and a fridge. There’s even a hardwood floor, a touch added after students found truckers often customize their cabs with hardwood or Oriental rugs to create a defined transition from the driver’s seat to the living space.”br /br /As Land Line Media’s Bill Hudgins a href=”http://landlinemedia.blogspot.com/2009/02/lonestar-stars-in-wired.html”also pointed out/a, essentially, Navistar took the custom sleeper (which superstar makers like a href=”http://www.trucksleeper.com/”ICT/a, a href=”http://www.doubleeagleind.com/”Double Eagle/a, a href=”http://www.legacysleepers.com/”ARI/a, a href=”http://www.bentzusa.com/”Bentz /aand so many other a href=”http://www.etrucker.com/content/channels/gallery_intermediate.asp”individual owners and small businesses/a have been gearing toward driver comfort for years) and streamlined it for factory production.br /br /We’ve been hearing good reports about the comfort of other truck makers’ new models, too, from the a href=”http://www.etrucker.com/apps/news/article.asp?id=63548″Freightliner Cascadia/a to the a href=”http://www.etrucker.com/apps/news/article.asp?id=61327″Kenworth T660/a.br /pInteresting side note: If you were wondering how two Carnegie Mellon design professors got involved with a truck manufacturer to begin with, note that Cagan and Boatwright’s 2005 a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Design-Things-Come-Ordinary-Extraordinary/dp/0131860828#reader”design book begins/a with a narrative of the notable career of Dee Kapur, including a href=”http://ir.navistar.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=117231″how he became president of Navistar-International’s Truck Group/a in 2003 after a career at Ford. /pli class=”social-digg”a onclick=”window.open(‘http://digg.com/submit?phase=2amp;url=’+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+’amp;title=’+encodeURIComponent(document.title), ‘digg’); return false;” href=”http://digg.com/submit”Digg/a/lili class=”social-facebook”a onclick=”window.open(‘http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=’+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+’amp;title=’+encodeURIComponent(document.title),’facebook’); return false;” href=”http://www.facebook.com/share.php”facebook/a/lidiv class=”blogger-post-footer”Channel 19 is the blog version of the column of the same name featured in Overdrive: The Voice of the American Trucker. Todd Dills (tdills@rrpub.com) is its author./div

While OverdriveOnline.com strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions, it does not welcome comments reflecting racism, vulgarity or spam. Violations of this policy can be grounds for removal of a comment or banning a user from the comments system.

  • Paul

    awesome article. Had a LOL moment when the two designers had t odo a “sociological survey” of the ever under noticed lifestyle of long haul trucking. And hardwood floors, I could dig some of that. :-)